READ INGREDIENT LABELS
Learn to read ingredient labels. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t buy it! Ingredient labeling can be confusing and often language is deliberately misleading. For instance, an ingredient listed as “natural” can be made with hundreds of ingredients that aren’t natural and don’t have to be listed.
Reading only the Nutrition Facts labels can also give you incomplete information because they don’t distinguish between hydrogenated fats and non-hydrogenated oils, amongst other ambiguities. Nutrition Fact labeling is determined by the specific ingredients and not the recipe. This can also give you the wrong information, as the final product is never tested for nutrient value.
Stay away from overly processed foods. If there are more than a few ingredients listed on the label, don’t buy it. Many ingredients are made from petroleum and other non-food items. Petroleum is used to fuel your car, not your body? Do you really think you body can process this stuff?
Eat organically grown and harvested food. Residential pesticides are associated with an increase in risk for breast cancer. Many pesticides and herbicides have been labeled as human or animal carcinogens.
Try eating locally as much as possible. The process used to transport foods via trucks, trains, and planes creates an enormous amount of emissions and is causing an environmental impact. Farmers are forced pick fruits and vegetables before they are at their nutritional peak and manufacturers are forced to add preservatives to prevent spoilage during the time it takes to transport from the farm to your mouth. If possible research a CSA near you for the freshest organic foods. (1)
In the last few decades’ factory farms have pumped animals full of hormones to produce bigger breasts in chickens for consumption(2), and for cows to produce more milk. The effects are daunting as more young people are showing signs of puberty as early as 7 or 8 and it is now normal for girls as young as 6 to start developing breasts.
Although organic is typically more expensive download the Environmental Working Groups pesticide guide to learn the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 for ways to prioritize organic food purchases when money is tight. (1)http://www.localharvest.org/csa (2)http://www.foodnews.org
VEGETABLES ARE YOUR FRIENDS!
Eat 5-8 servings of vegetables in a variety of color. Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussell sprouts, kale and bokchoy have properties that actually prevent cancer cells from developing into tumors.
Fruits are great too! An apple a day may actually keep the doctor away. Try eating 5-8 servings per day. Pomegranates and mangoes are great fruits that are effective in preventing and stopping breast cancer.
OBESITY IS A MAJOR FACTOR
Scientists have determined that obesity plays a role in dramatically increasing your risk of getting cancer (including breast cancer), and is attributed to 14-20 percent of all cancer cases. Get your weight down and ask for help if you are having a hard time doing this yourself.
Easy changes can be going from white grains to eating whole grains such as organic brown rice, quinoa and amaranth. Fill up on fiber. Add flaxseed to cereal. This is a great source of fiber and protein.
Eat less sugar – all kinds. Choose organic unrefined sugar, maple syrup, black strapped molasses, local honey or natural stevia (more studies need to be done, but as of now it appears to be a safer alternative to processed sugar). Use all sparingly.
Steer clear of unhealthy fats such as saturated and trans fats as well as cholesterol. Eat healthy fats such as olive, grapeseed and coconut oils.
LESS ANIMAL PRODUCTS
Eat less animal products including dairy and eggs. Choose alternatives to milk such as organic almond, hazelnut or rice milk. Eat more beans and nuts, some of which are excellent sources of protein. Just by adjusting your diet to include a non-meat day once a week, you will reduce your consumption of meat by about 35 pounds a year.
Did you know according to Environmental Defense, if every American skipped just one meal of chicken a week and traded it for a vegetarian meal, it would be the equivalent of taking a half million cars off the road in carbon dioxide savings.
USE CAUTION WHILE BARBEQUING
Barbecue safely, if at all. Polycylic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) – a byproduct of combustion, from sources as varied as coal and coke-burners, diesel-fueled engines, grilled meats and cigarettes. PAHs are lipophilic and are stored in the fat tissue of the breast. PAHs have been shown to increase risk for breast cancer through a variety of mechanisms.
TRANS FATS CAN CAUSE CANCER
Highly processed fats such as hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated trans fats are highly toxic to your body and over time are known to lead to diseases, including cancer. Some common trans fats are partially hydrogenated palm, soy and cottonseed oil. All of which are usually preserved with TBHQ, which is a petroleum-based ingredient similar to the contents of a cigarette lighter. One thing to remember is that in the US, a product labeled “Zero Transfats” can have up to 0.5 grams of this nasty fatty acid per serving.
So if you eat a few servings a day of these products, you could end up with an abundant amount in your body. Look for “No Transfats” on the label instead. There are naturally occurring trans fats found in some food, but your body knows how to process those, if you maintain a healthy diet. Companies are tricky. Be smart about your choices.
INCREASING VITAMIN D AND CALCIUM
Studies show that these nutrients can dramatically decrease your risk of getting breast cancer. Woo Hoo! One of the best ways to get vitamin D is through hanging out in the sun for a brief 15 minutes a day a few times a week – but be sure to wear a non toxic sunscreen and don’t over do it! If you can’t get to the sun, try a high quality supplement. Although milk might be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of calcium: wild salmon, spinach, tofu and almonds are just a few of the foods that are rich sources of calcium.
ONE DRINK A DAY IS ENOUGH
More than one drink each day (if you are 21, of course) increases your odds of developing breast cancer (ACS, n.d.). (1) Alcohol can increase the levels of some hormones, such as estrogen and unusually high levels of estrogen increase the risk of breast cancer. Not fair?? I know, but think of the consequences if you overload.
Both smoking and second hand smoke can increase risk of breast cancer. Tobacco smoke contains PAHs and hundreds of other chemicals. These chemicals, a few of which are known carcinogens, have caused mammary tumors in animals. Chances are, you know smoking causes cancer. Smoking sucks and is NOT cool.